Project Discussion: Building a Cost recovery model TREs: How to do it together?#

Chair: David Sarmiento (Alan Turing Institute)


  • Should research projects contribute financially to TRE provision?

    • If so, how do we do it fairly and make sure it doesn’t become a barrier to research?

  • What costs should be recovered? Staff time, common infrastructure, analysis costs

  • How do we communicate the need for cost recovery with projects?


  • Turing Example - Trusted Research Service Area (TRESA)

    • Created as a cost centre

    • Separation within the resources/personnel between the ‘production TRE’ versus ‘developing the TRE’

  • Bart’s Health project - pressure to come up with a sustainability model - what’s it going to cost and why everyone else should be charged except for themselves!

  • Sensitivity around funding levels - trying to ‘socialise’ the idea that you will have to spend money to do this kind of activity and we should get it into funding proposals

  • Cloud funding costs - straightforward

  • But the overheads costs are a bit more complicated - data management, ongoing development and maintenance of software

  • If funders are looking at national infrastructure that has to go along with some baseline costs for keeping the lights on

  • Funding for this is complicated - data from NHS, research funding from UKRI - but what about the infrastructure and keeping the lights on (and improving them)

How do projects pay for TRE costs when they haven’t included them in their initial budgets?

  • Turing have a mechanism for applying for centrally funded cloud credits. For the person effort required to support TREs, we have a funded project and wider research computing service areas we can borrow people time from for the next 18 months or so to ease the transition, but need a long-term sustainability model

  • Running a 4 year project with a TRE and a key goal from the project governance is to establish an ongoing sustainability model for the TRE early on in the project.